We left Lydford behind after 3 days, we headed north to the Barnstaple area and a small site on at Collacott Farm near Fremington. These ‘Certified Location’ sites only allow a few ‘campers’ and it was full with only 2 caravans, 2 other motorhomes and us, we all had ample space around our pitches and a field in front of us with 3 alpacas to keep us entertained. There was also a lovely view across many fields to the estuary of the River Taw beyond and a few wind turbines completed the picture.
While we were in Spain in March earlier this year we met a lovely couple, Ro and Ian, who live in Barnstaple, hence our visit to this area. After our lunch they came to the site to meet up again and they took us out to Instow a small village where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet with Appledore on the opposite side of the estuary. We walked along the beach with Cassie, their lovely cocker spaniel, it was a blustery, grey day and after a while we all decamped to a pub overlooking the beach. Rain soon followed but we had a great time catching up with each other inside.
The weather had changed next day and although there was a lot of cloud around, the sun also put in an appearance for a while.
We walked down from the campsite into the village of Fremington between the flower filled Devon hedgerows, predominantly blue with blue bells, speedwell and violets, and white with stitchwort, hedge-parsley and jack-by-the-hedge. We heard the skylarks singing high above us, while lower down the jackdaws were being blown around by the wind. Further on at Fremington Quay, we saw the abandoned old skeletons of wooden boats stuck in the mud and brightly painted boats further beyond, a real vision of the timescale involved in the life of a quay.
We spotted shelduck, mallard and two whimbrel on the tidal mud flats before stopping off for coffee and flapjack at the café overlooking the estuary. After our refreshments, we walked all the way to Barnstaple along a coastal path with vast areas of salt marsh, swallows skimming the ground for insects, curlew, cormorants and gulls dotted around and cattle in the fields behind.
Eventually the old and the new Barnstaple bridges came into sight and we admired a few of the buildings on our way to finding lunch at the Rolle Quay. A real taste of the past, with proper bubble and squeak made with vegetables from the Sunday roast, two sausages and an egg.
The walk was 7 miles from the campsite and with tired legs our pre-arranged meeting with Ro and her car was most welcome. We enjoyed the rest of the day with her and Ian at their home, including a wonderful evening meal of salmon and several glasses of wine eventually arriving back on the campsite at midnight!
We all got together again on our third and final day, Ian drove us out to Hartland Point west of Bideford and north of Bude. The scenery is dramatic with the rocky outcrop standing at 325ft with fascinating rock layers moved in multiple directions, contorted and twisted over the passage of time. There was pink thrift and yellow kidney vetch everywhere making a very pretty backdrop as we sat down to admire the view and have lunch and a drink in the sunshine.
The tide was out showing the rocks leading out to sea, there was once a harbour here but the terrible storms took their toll and eventually after years of repairs the old pier head and wall were destroyed in 1887. The route home took in Appledore and an ice cream on the sea front, doing a spot of people watching, looking over the sandflats at people walking out there as the tide was coming in, foolish to say the least.
Back in Barnstaple Ian fired up the BBQ and we were soon enjoying a feast with a few glasses vino tinto to help the party along! We had such a great time with Ro and Ian; a chance meeting in Los Escullos, Spain a few months ago and a shared interest of motorhome travelling, has developed further with our visit to Barnstaple and more plans for Spain in the Autumn!
Ottery St Mary – 14th May
For the last 3 days of our break in Devon, we left the north coast and headed south to Putts Corner near Ottery St Mary, inland from Sidmouth. We relaxed after setting up and enjoyed a bottle of Rosé in the sunshine, the forecast for the next few days is not so good so it would be rude not too!
The British weather finally showed her cards when it poured down all night which was very noisy on Della’s roof. We had large trees behind and to the side of us and the debris in the morning was plain to see over us and everyone else. There was a mist over the campsite and it was like looking through a veil.
Using the time wisely, I continued learning my Spanish (ready for subsequent visits) and eventually progressed to writing this blog. Eventually cabin fever took over, the rain stopped briefly around 4pm, and Chris and I legged it through a beautiful bluebell wood to the pub for a change of scenery.
After only one drink in a near deserted pub we retraced our steps back to the campsite to watch TV. The weather had beaten us virtually all day.
This morning we listened to the forecast which turned out to be more of the same and decided to abandon our last day in Devon and disappear back to a hopefully sunny Salisbury.
Well it has certainly been dryer, except for a couple of short showers, and this afternoon I have been able to paint more of the fence!!